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Mailbag

"Mailbag" Continued...

Issue: "Midwest's middle men," Oct. 21, 2000

No old Christians

Thanks for your recent essay on Riga, Latvia ("Optimism in rainy Riga," Sept. 16). I am a pastor of a church that supports a missionary family in Riga, and I visited them this summer. There is a crying need for mature Christian leadership in Latvia and countries like it. There is little or no institutional memory of a strong Christian church, nor is there much support for Christians in Latvia. There are simply no old Christians, thanks to 50 years of Soviet domination. I spent hours just talking about being a Christian in the marketplace, about biblical principles of church leadership, and about biblical principles for godly homes. Christians in Latvia are starving for exposure to practical Christian experience. But their optimism is not surprising. Near Old Riga, the part of the city that was founded in 1200, a few markers show where people were shot in the streets by Soviet snipers in the 1991 revolution. Many of the young men and women I met with were part of the fight, taking to the streets in barricades like something out of Les Miserables. There wasn't much real fighting, though. Latvians call it "The Singing Revolution" because, for the most part, they massed together in the streets, singing national folk songs and hymns. By that time the Soviets had lost the will to crush such peaceful crowds for all the world to see, and so they simply packed up and left Latvia. It must have been something to see. - Tim Schoap, Signal Mountain, Tenn.

Grappling

Our family appreciates WORLD's hard work and willingness to grapple with issues from God's perspective. All ages in our family tend to "fight" over who gets to read it first. We will pray for wisdom for your staff. - Charles McElmurray, Blythewood, S.C.

Fast-tracking fame

The case of Eric Harrah is a great illustration of what can (and often does) go wrong when we rush to create celebrities in Christendom ("Selling celebrity," Sept. 2). Something similar happens in athletics when people assume that the son of a good coach will know as much as his father. In the church, we do this with the sons and daughters of "successful" preachers and teachers. In this we are setting up the "celebrity" for a great fall, the church for great disappointment, and giving nonbelievers more reason to mock Christ and His kingdom. - Bill Lamkin, Jacksonville, Fla.

Third year

This will be my third year receiving WORLD. I read it for news with more depth than is available in most other resources, and I read with confidence knowing that a Christian worldview is framing and underwriting the telling of the news. Each week I share my issue with a Christian friend who passes it along to another. WORLD is one of the few magazines I read cover to cover, including the advertisements, every week. I am happy to see all the letters to the editor in one section again. Some of the subjects you have covered in recent months have been heartbreaking and have called us to fervent prayer. The wonderfully written columns are encouraging and often force me to think seriously about subjects I would sometimes rather not think about at all. Thank you for your faithfulness. I look forward to another year of great writing and helpful information. - Lee Eddy, San Diego, Calif.

Legacy of lies

Andree Seu is correct to say that we should take no joy in the political death of Bill Clinton, just as God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked ("Sackcloth and ashes," Aug. 26). Mrs. Seu believes the Clinton legacy is "the knowledge that sin has consequences." My take is that Mr. Clinton taught us that if a lie is big enough, and told often enough, people will accept it as truth; if a sin is shocking enough, people will refuse to believe it; and if a politician is bold enough to lie, deny, and cry on cue, he can get away with almost anything. - Wade Winingham, Louisville, Neb.

Mercy for all

Andree Seu's Judgment Call was a needed reminder. Although I preach each week of God's hatred of sin and His offer of free grace in Jesus, somehow I'd forgotten the "mercy portion" for our president. - Paul W. Kummer, Destin, Fla.

Correction

The caption read pro-life congressman Ken Lucas (D-Ky.), but the photo was of Rep. Charlie Stenholm (D-Texas) (Sept. 30, p. 26). - The Editors

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